“Community only exists when action is taking place.”
I’ve thrived in seeing this phrase lived out among people I interact with in various communities. Most recently, I’ve had the joy and privilege of living it out with several colleagues from around the world over the past few months in a training program through my company. We’ve spent hours struggling through classwork and have continued to build relationships through other outside activities. It has been amazing.
Until a “bad” thing happened.
Our director sat the class down for an intense discussion regarding some perceived unprofessional behavior as a group. My heart sunk. In that moment, I could pin point exactly where I was guilty of giving a bad rep for the company. It made me feel ashamed that as ambassadors to this company, we had failed. Others around us couldn’t tell how hard we wanted to work to do well and to give the company a good name. I could do nothing but sit stone faced and feel scared poopless about where this conversation would end.
But somehow, as class members started to express various concerns, complaints, and compliments, I found myself incredibly joyful. It was one of maybe two moments I have felt intimately close to this group of people. In the middle of addressing a conflict, I was witnessing the process of our great relationships growing even more in depth.
I don’t believe action in relation to growing community is always “good.” Take for instance Jesus’ group of followers/friends. Sure they faithfully followed him around, but they sure didn’t do the “good” thing all the time. During his last night before the religious leaders put him to death, Jesus and his friends went to a garden to pray with him. Well instead of praying with him, like he asked, they fell asleep. Not quite the most “professional” or dutiful thing to do during a critical time.
Fast forward several years and we see that these very same nappers are the people planting the first churches in the history of Christianity. They are the leaders raising up more leaders to follow Jesus. Their very lives were at stake for the work they were doing and yet continued to fulfill it faithfully.
Guilt is no effective way to respond to doing a “bad” action in the midst of community. From the planting of guilt grows no “good” action for the future. Had Jesus’ friends let guilt bog them down, they would have missed out on being part of the amazing work he had set out for them.
I find it beautiful to see imperfect people mess up and through grace, have it redeemed as something incredible. Our little eclectic group is far from perfect, but throughout this experience, I believe that a strong sense of community is understood amongst all of us. Do I think this is the last time any of us will receive correction in our careers? Absolutely not. Will this group succeed through learning as a community? Yes, yes, and again yes.
Where have you witnessed growth in your communities? How do you see difficulties/joys affecting the way individuals interact with each other? Please share and I would also love to hear feedback!